Espousing the Tau Cross

“…for if I came into the world, it was only to espouse the cross.” 
~St. Louise de Montfort (Friends of the Cross)

The tau crosses that the postulants received 
About Mary: Before discerning and entering religious life Mary was married. Upon her husband's death she discovered the gift of her vocation to religious life. The Lord continues to show her the beauty and dignity of each vocation and how they complement one another to serve the Church while affirming her call to love Him with an "undivided heart".

During our pre-postulancy retreat at Mass one morning the veils, habits and tau crosses were blessed. Before Mass began, I sat in the silence of the chapel, praying. I was thinking that wearing the Tau cross is like wearing an engagement ring. It is a sign of my commitment to Christ – a sign that I am promising to give my life to Christ now and, God-willing, in the future. These bridal images are so vivid to me; I often find myself making comparisons between the time of my life when I was married and now, as I discern consecrated religious life.

The pre-postulants requesting to enter postulancy
As a candidate, I thought back to the time when I was dating my late husband, Michael. I remembered the time we would spend together, falling in love, getting to know one another’s family, and getting to know one another more intimately. How this time of candidacy seemed to me to replicate the dating process as I got to know the community while falling more in love with Christ!

How I desired to enter postulancy and to wear the Tau, the symbol of Franciscan penance, to further demonstrate that not only am I a Franciscan but that I am my beloved’s and that he is mine (Song of Songs 6:3). I was so ecstatic for others to see visibly what I was feeling interiorly. It made me think back to the night Mike proposed to me. The importance of that moment wasn’t so much about the ring itself or what it looked like, but what it symbolized. It symbolized a commitment that was made for that moment and in the future.

Sarah, one of Mary's classmates receiving the Tau cross
Our retreat ended after the Mass when our Tau crosses were blessed, a silent retreat. A certain scripture kept coming to my mind during prayer; “Then he said to all, ‘If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily* and follow me’” (Luke 9:23). I prayed with this scripture and thought this would be a beautiful way to put on my cross each morning, a gentle reminder of how to embrace each day, each cross, for Christ.

-Mary Belz, postulant

Mary (left) and Elise praying a prayer together with the other postulants after receiving the Tau.
The prayer can  be found below

Holy Mary, I embrace you as my Sorrowful Mother.  As I stand with you at the feet of Jesus, I ask you for the grace to learn from you the profound secret of the Holy Cross.  Help me to contemplate the depth of love that motivated the Heart of your Divine Son to so give His life for me.  Grace me to accept my call to be wholly identified with my Jesus crucified.  Help me to cherish this cross which is a sign of my acceptance to embrace the call to ongoing conversion through becoming a postulant of the Franciscan Sisters Third Order Regular of Penance of the Sorrowful Mother.  Teach me, my Mother, how to see my joy, in union with yours, in the sufferings and sacrifices of my life.  Mother, present me to Jesus this day, for I desire to do His most holy will.  Amen.

Explanation of the Tau cross

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  1. What a beautiful meditation on the cross! My prayers are with you, Mary, as you discern God's will for your life.

  2. I absolutely love this reflection - praying for all of you!

  3. Prayers for you Mary and all your fellow postulants


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